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Whom to cheer against in the Super Bowl
One of the things I enjoy the most about this job is having people stop me to talk sports. I've yet to get tired of it after almost 10 years.
Typically, people want to talk about the Cowboys and Cowgirls or the MCC teams. But at this time of year, the discussions are almost exclusively about the Super Bowl. And the question I receive most frequently is, "who are you going for?"
Now that's an honest question, but for me it's the wrong question. The correct question for me is, "who are you cheering against?"
You see, I'm a Miami Dolphins fan. The Dolphins haven't been in the Super Bowl since shortly after my fifth birthday. So, rather than cheering for a team, I tend to cheer against a team. And more often than not, I cheer for the story line.
Some years it's simple who I'm cheering for; usually it's the team playing against the Patriots. And some years it's difficult to choose whom to cheer against, like when the Steelers played the Seahawks.
This year is one of the years that has been tough to choose. I'm not a Seawawks or Broncos fan, but I also don't cheer against either team. Although that wasn't the case not too long ago.
As most of you know, I grew up in Seattle. As a youngster, I did cheer for the Steve Largent, Dave Kreig era Seahawks. But, in all honesty, I was never a diehard. I liked them well enough and didn't mind when they won. But they didn't get me fired up like the Dolphins.
The one thing that I did take away from my brief time as a Seahawks fan was a severe dislike of their old AFC West foes, the Denver Broncos and more specifically John Elway.
When I made my way to the Dolphins, it was easy to continue my dislike of Elway and the Broncos. For their entire careers, Elway and Dan Marino were linked in the conversation of the top quarterbacks in the league. As a Marino fan, Elway was the anti-hero.
If this was 1997, I would easily be cheering for the Seahawks, and against the Broncos.
But this isn't 1997, and John Elway is in a suit, not in pads. And this is where my issues of picking a team start. I can't cheer against Peyton Manning.
From the time he entered the league, Manning has easily been my favorite player, not associated with the Dolphins.
When he signed with the Broncos a couple years ago, I groaned. Here was my favorite player, going to one of my least favorite teams.
Now, my feelings for the Broncos have calmed considerably since Elway retired. And with Manning signing there, I have almost become a Broncos fan.
But while I love Peyton Manning, it's also been really hard to overcome almost 30 years of disliking the color orange.
As far as the Seahawks are concerned, I don't feel strongly one way or the other. I'm a big, big fan of Russell Wilson. I like that they play good old-fashioned football, great defense and solid running. I even like Pete Carroll, despite the growing evidence that he's kind of a weasel. And of course, I love Seattle in general.
So there's a lot of reasons to cheer for the Seahawks.
So choosing a team to cheer for comes down to the Broncos. Can I cheer against Peyton Manning? Can I cheer for the Broncos?
Usually, in a situation like this, I cheer against the team that my friends and family are cheering for. I'm kind of a pain in the tail in that regard.
But my family and friends are split between the Broncos and Seahawks. My mom is a Broncos fan, while other family members cheer for the Seahawks. I have equal numbers of friends who cheer for each team, although the Seahawks fans are more vocal (not necessarily a good thing).
I've struggled with this for the last two weeks, and I'm no closer today than I was two weeks ago.
Maybe I'll make a decision when the game gets started. But for now, I think I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the greatest offense of all time against one of the greatest defenses of all time.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Josh Samuelson is the Sports Editor at the Miles City Star. While football season is coming to a close, he's comforted by the fact that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in six days.